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SNPG939 Australia to Minimise Harm Caused by Alcohol and Illicit Drugs: Harm Minimisation Essay Assessment 2 Answer

SNPG939: Psychoactive

Substance and Mental Health

Assessment 2Essay
Type of CollaborationIndividual assessment
Length1500 words
Harm Minimisation Essay
Harm minimisation works to reduce the adverse health, social and economic impacts of drug use on communities, families and individuals.
Using both the national and international literature, critically analyse the impact the three pillars of harm minimisation have on reducing drug-related harm in Australia.
Style and format
Formal essay style (introduction, body, conclusion). You may choose to use the dot points above as headings to help structure the essay. Reference style/format as per Author. 

Subject Learning Outcomes
  1. Critically appraise theories of, and initiatives linked to, health behaviour change
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of health behaviour change in the context of substance-use disorders
  3. Critically analyse current national and international trends in, and management of, psychoactive substance use
  4. Critically analyse the impact of psychoactive substance use on the mental and physiological health of the person




Drugs are part of human life, and it is using by a human for thousands of years. Many licit drugs offer the highest level of benefits to the human. However, the misuse and abuse of drugs create a damaging impact on the human body which can also create death. Along with that, misuse of drugs can also develop a induce euphoria as well as sleep disorders. The utilisation of some drugs may also create dependency on drugs and sometimes it may also create some psychotic disorders. If drugs are taken in large quantities, then it can cause permanent physical damage to the body. Misuse or abuse of drugs disrupts families. Different dysfunctional or criminal activities are associated with illicit drugs that create a negative influence on the fabric of society. At the national level, the impact of drug abuse is considered as the economic loss due to the property damage, harms along with the productivity reduction. The most commonly used illicit drugs that are used in Australia is cannabis that is used by 12.9% of people in Australia.

Moreover, there are 80.7% of people who regularly consume alcohol. For reducing the harm of alcohol and other types of drugs, Australia has implemented a harm minimisation strategy. This essay focuses on the approaches that are used by Australia to minimise the harm caused by alcohol and illicit drugs.


Harm minimisation is associated with addressing the harmful impact of alcohols and drugs on society and individual. According to Midford et al. (2018), harm minimisation is critically essential in modern days because it reduces the deaths caused by an overdose of medicines. It also reduces the number of used needles among the public. Harm minimisation is highly relevant to educate people about safe injecting to the public. As argued by Midford et al. (2015), harm minimisation is necessary for reducing the sharing of needles along with other equipment. The long-standing commitment of Australia towards harm minimisation considers the social, health and the economic consequences of utilised drugs on the communities as well as the individual. For minimising the harm associated with drugs, Australia has implemented a harm minimisation policy that offers a clear recognition of the drugs that creates substantial threats to the users of drugs (Bancroft, 2017). This policy provides excellent support to the abuser of drugs so that drug-related harm can be reduced among individual or community.  

The strategy of harm minimisation in Australia mainly focuses on both the illicit and licit drugs and develops a strategy to reduce the actual harm caused by those drugs. Harm minimisation strategy of Australia primarily focuses on the development of the programs and the policies for the reduction of the drug-related harm (Midford et al. 2018). Three different pillars are there that are considered to facilitate harm minimisation that is a reduction in supply, reduction in demand as well as reduction in harm. These three pillars are efficient in preventing and minimising the harmful impact of tobacco, drugs and alcohol. For minimisation of harm completely, implementing strategies in combinations are more efficient rather than applying those strategies individually. According to Butterfield et al. (2016), for minimisation of harm, it is important to develop a balance among demand, supply and the reduction of harm. As argued by Thomas et al. (2016), for successful harm minimisation approach, the Australian government has involved the intervention of law enforcement. Additionally, they have also developed the range of rehabilitation and treatment option that is evidence-based. Under the approach of harm minimisation, the population that need to be considered are the people with mental issues, young people, indigenous people, culturally diverse people, older people and people who are identified as the gay, lesbian, or transgender.

Among the pillars of harm reduction, supply reduction strategies are developed for disrupting the importation, production along with the supply of the control access of illicit drugs as well as limit the licit drug’s supply (Pickard & Pearce, 2017). On the other hand, the demand reduction strategies are associated with preventing the uptake of the use of the harmful drug. Demand reduction strategy includes the prevention and discourages the use of drugs in unhealthy patterns. As mentioned by Hutton (2018), for the reduction of demand of drugs, tobacco and alcohol, proper information are provided to the public about the harmful impact of this substance on the human body. Therefore, a demand reduction strategy includes public awareness, offer education and counselling to the public and arrange rehabilitation of the people. According to Johnson (2017), for reducing demand, the health sector of Australia works with various law enforcement agencies and community group so that they can offer drug education in school, counsel the users of drugs, alcohol and tobacco to prevent them from using it. The other pillar of the harm reduction is the harm reduction strategies that are associated with a limit or prevent some specific types of harms that are caused from the utilisation of the drugs (Harris, Parke & Griffiths, 2018). Harm reduction strategies involve the modification of the behaviour among the users of drugs (for example, driving after a drink or sharing needles to take drugs) so that different related hazards and harms can be minimised. The harm reduction strategies involve various sectors such as the health sector, welfare sector or police who are associated with making people aware of the harmful impact of drugs. 

For the prevention of the demand, the health care workers and social workers must prevent the uptake of the drugs. Along with that, they should delay the first use of drugs among the users because it secures an improved health-related outcome. This is because, if a person receives drugs earlier, then the possibilities of harm is more significant. These harms mainly include mental and physical problem causes by it. As stated by Dwyer (2018), demand reduction approaches to reduce the level of harmful consumption over time, and it also reduces the number of drugs taken in a particular time. As argued by Rowe et al. (2017), with the help of this technique, it is possible to reduce the harm. For facilitating demand reduction, supporting people to get rid of their habits to consume drugs are highly essential to reduce the drug-related problems (Flacks, 2019). For the supply reduction technique, the Australian government has developed various policies and laws for restricting the access or availability of the drug. For supply reduction, the Australian government control the availability of licit drugs. Prevention, as well as the decrease in the accessibility and the availability of drugs, is highly essential (Ritter & van de Ven, 2019). For reducing harm causes by druids, reduction of the risk behaviours is necessary. For this purpose, the development of an effective policy is essential such ad drink driving law so that the consumption of drugs cannot take the life of others. Development of more smoke-free areas, offer free water and food at the licensed venues and formation of safer disposal of syringes are necessary for reduction of harmful impact.

Along with the commitment of Australia in minimising the harm caused by the misuse of drugs and consumption of the alcohol and tobacco, various principles need to be used for minimisation of the harm (Midford et al. 2016). For efficient harm minimisation, the allocation of resources, funding and strategy implementation needs to be informed by various evidence-informed strategies. For minimisation of harm, the strategy needs to be developed by considering the current level of evidence that continually improves. Leadership, as well as the innovation, are always found in developing a new approach for harm minimisation. As stated by Debenham et al. (2019), a strong partnership among different law enforcement organisations and the health sector of Australia is a critical approach to minimise harm. As argued by FernándezCalderón et al. (2019), a more significant partnership is required among the government and non-government organisation for performing different purposes such as offering education, primary health care, treatment-related services, social welfare to the public. Collaboration and cooperation at the international and national level and within the jurisdiction improves the innovative responses, outcomes along with the efficient utilisation of the resources. This strategy is associated with coordinating the national responses regarding the tobacco, different drugs and alcohol by offering a framework to identify the consistent approaches as well as some agreed priorities at the national and local level. The Australian healthcare sector has also implemented a nationally agreed goal for harm minimisation by reducing the tobacco, alcohol and other drug-related issues. 


From the above description, it can be concluded that for reducing the harmful impact of different drugs (e.g. opioids, cannabis), tobacco or alcohol, reduction in demand or supply of these substances are important. For the harm minimisation, increasing the access of the effective, evidence-informed as well as affordable services for the entire population of Australia is highly important. Along with that, various government and non-governmental organisation need to work with each other to increase the well being of the population who use the drugs. This is because the collaboration among these two different types of an organisation always increases the chances to develop various awareness campaigns or identify the young person who receives drugs. Reduction in the demand or supply of those drugs creates difficulties for the users of those drugs in accessing the drugs that automatically minimise the harm caused by it.

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